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Essentials of Fire Fighting,

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Essentials of Fire Fighting, 5th Edition Chapter 18 Protecting Fire Scene Evidence Firefighter II Chapter 18 Lesson Goal After completing this lesson, the student ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Essentials of Fire Fighting,


1
  • Essentials of Fire Fighting,
  • 5th Edition

Chapter 18 Protecting Fire Scene
Evidence Firefighter II
2
Chapter 18 Lesson Goal
  • After completing this lesson, the student shall
    be able to assist in the investigation of a
    suspicious fire and protect and preserve evidence
    after a fire following the policies and
    procedures set forth by the authority having
    jurisdiction (AHJ).

3
Specific Objectives
  • 1. Discuss the roles of firefighters and
    investigators at investigations.
  • 2. Summarize important observations to be made
    en route, after arriving at the scene, and during
    fire fighting operations.
  • 3. Discuss firefighter conduct and statements at
    the scene.

(Continued)
4
Specific Objectives
  • 4. Explain firefighter responsibilities after
    the fire.
  • 5. Explain how legal considerations affect
    firefighters during operations that may involve
    incendiary evidence.

(Continued)
5
Specific Objectives
  • 6. Discuss protecting and preserving evidence.
  • 7. Protect evidence of fire cause and origin.
    (Skill Sheet 18-II-1)

6
Roles at an Investigation General Considerations
  • Determining the cause of a fire may only require
    the expertise of the emergency responders on
    scene

(Continued)
7
Roles at an Investigation General Considerations
  • More complex fire incidents or possible crime
    scenes often require assistance of law
    enforcement personnel and qualified fire
    investigators

Courtesy of Sheldon Levi, IFPA.
(Continued)
8
Roles at an Investigation General Considerations
  • Guidelines for initiating steps vary among
    jurisdictions and the nature of the incident
  • Firefighters must be aware of the guidelines
    and/or regulations in their areas

9
Roles at an Investigation Firefighter
Responsibilities
  • In most jurisdictions, fire chief has the legal
    responsibility for determining the cause and
    origin
  • Fire chief delegates this authority to fire
    officers and firefighters at the scene

(Continued)
10
Roles at an Investigation Firefighter
Responsibilities
  • Proper training enables firefighters to recognize
    and collect important information
  • First-arriving firefighters can observe unusual
    conditions that may indicate an incendiary fire

11
Roles at an Investigation Investigator
Responsibilities
  • Fire marshals or others may be responsible for
    conducting investigations beyond the
    determination of fire origin and cause

(Continued)
12
Roles at an Investigation Investigator
Responsibilities
  • Fire investigators may also be sworn peace
    officers
  • Firefighters may be questioned by an investigator
    or asked to assist in an investigation

(Continued)
13
Roles at an Investigation Investigator
Responsibilities
  • Some fire departments have special fire
    investigation or arson squads
  • Arson investigation
  • Police department
  • State fire marshal or some other state agency
  • Private companies may conduct separate
    investigations

(Continued)
14
Observations En Route
  • Time of day
  • Weather and natural hazards
  • Barriers
  • People leaving the scene

15
Observations Upon Arrival
  • Time of arrival and extent of fire
  • Wind direction and velocity
  • Doors or windows locked or unlocked
  • Location of the fire

(Continued)
16
Observations Upon Arrival
  • Containers or cans
  • Burglary tools
  • Familiar faces

17
Observations During Fire Fighting Operations
  • Unusual odors
  • Abnormal behavior of fire when water is applied
  • Obstacles hindering fire fighting

(Continued)
18
Observations During Fire Fighting Operations
  • Incendiary devices
  • Trailers
  • Structural alterations
  • Fire patterns

(Continued)
19
Observations During Fire Fighting Operations
  • Heat intensity
  • Availability of documents
  • Fire detection and protection systems
  • Intrusion alarms
  • Location of fire

(Continued)
20
Observations During Fire Fighting Operations
  • Personal possessions
  • Household items
  • Equipment or inventory
  • Business records

21
Conduct and Statements at the Scene
  • Firefighters should obtain as much information as
    possible
  • Owners or occupants of the property should be
    allowed to talk freely

(Continued)
22
Conduct and Statements at the Scene
  • Firefighters should not attempt to interrogate a
    potential arson suspect unless trained and
    authorized
  • Firefighters should refrain from expressing
    personal opinions

(Continued)
23
Conduct and Statements at the Scene
  • After the investigator arrives, firefighters
    should make statements only to this individual

(Continued)
24
Conduct and Statements at the Scene
  • Public statement regarding fire cause should be
    made only after
  • The investigator and ranking fire officer have
    agreed to its accuracy and validity
  • Have given permission for it to be released

25
Responsibilities After the Fire
  • Firefighters should report their observations to
    their supervisor
  • Firefighters should not discuss their
    observations with other crew members
  • Improperly done overhaul operations can be
    detrimental to the investigation

26
Securing the Fire Scene
  • Fire department has the authority to deny access
    to any building
  • During fire fighting operations
  • For a reasonable length of time after fire
    suppression is terminated

(Continued)
27
Securing the Fire Scene
  • If an investigator is not immediately available,
    the fire department or other lawful authority
    should keep control of the premises until all
    evidence has been collected

(Continued)
28
Securing the Fire Scene
  • Once all fire personnel leave the scene, a search
    warrant or written consent to search will be
    required to reenter the premises

(Continued)
29
Securing the Fire Scene
  • Fire personnel should not allow anyone to enter a
    fire scene without the investigators permission
  • The premises can be secured and protected in
    several ways

(Continued)
30
Securing the Fire Scene
  • Cordoning can be accomplished with rope or
    specially designed fire and police line tape

31
Legal Considerations
  • Legal cases
  • Firefighters may remain on location as long as
    necessary, but once they leave they may be
    required to get a search warrant
  • Based on the case of Michigan vs. Tyler
  • U.S. Supreme Court findings

(Continued)
32
Legal Considerations
  • Impact on firefighters
  • If there is incendiary evidence, fire department
    should leave at least one person on premises
    until an investigator arrives
  • To leave the premises, return later without a
    search warrant, and make a search might have
    negative consequences

(Continued)
33
Legal Considerations
  • Impact on firefighters (cont.)
  • Each department must comply with the legal
    opinions that affect its jurisdiction

34
Protecting and Preserving Evidence
  • Protect evidence by keeping it untouched and
    undisturbed until an investigator arrives
  • Do not gather or handle evidence unless it is
    absolutely necessary in order to preserve it

(Continued)
35
Protecting and Preserving Evidence
  • If firefighters handle or procure evidence, they
    then become a link in the chain of custody for
    that evidence
  • Evidence must remain undisturbed except when
    absolutely necessary for the extinguishment of
    the fire

(Continued)
36
Protecting and Preserving Evidence
  • Firefighters must avoid trampling over possible
    evidence and obliterating it
  • The same precaution applied to the excessive use
    of water may help avoid similar unsatisfactory
    results

(Continued)
37
Protecting and Preserving Evidence
  • Human footprints and tire marks must be
    protected use cardboard boxes

(Continued)
38
Protecting and Preserving Evidence
  • Protect completely or partially burned papers
    found in a furnace, stove, or fireplace by
    immediately closing dampers and other openings
  • Leave charred documents found in containers

(Continued)
39
After Evidence Has Been Collected
  • After evidence has been properly collected by an
    investigator, debris may be removed
  • Remove charred materials to prevent the
    possibility of rekindle and to help reduce smoke
    damage

(Continued)
40
After Evidence Has Been Collected
  • Unburned materials can be separated from the
    debris and cleaned

41
Summary
  • Before an investigation into the origin and cause
    of a fire can be conducted, there must be
    evidence to evaluate.

(Continued)
42
Summary
  • As a firefighter, one of the most important
    responsibilities is to avoid disturbing or
    destroying evidence while fighting the fire. In
    the area of origin appropriate caution must be
    used when spraying water, moving debris, and even
    walking around.

(Continued)
43
Summary
  • Once the area of origin is known, a more thorough
    investigation can be conducted to determine the
    exact cause of the fire.

(Continued)
44
Summary
  • As a firefighter, it may be necessary to
    determine the cause of the fire more likely,
    firefighters may be assigned to assist their
    supervisor or a fire investigator in making that
    determination.

(Continued)
45
Summary
  • If the fire origin and cause investigation
    reveals evidence of arson, the property becomes a
    crime scene and must be treated as one.
    Firefighters must cooperate fully with whoever is
    assigned to investigate the crime.

46
Review Questions
  • 1. What individuals may have responsibilities in
    a fire investigation?
  • 2. What are some observations that may indicate
    a fire was incendiary?
  • 3. What is one way that a fire scene can be
    secured?

(Continued)
47
Review Questions
  • 4. Why should the fire department leave at least
    one person on the premises of a scene until the
    investigator arrives?
  • 5. What are ways that evidence can be protected?
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